St. Louis, Mo. (Aug 3, 2009) – Amy Anderson has already claimed stroke-play medalist honors at one USGA championship this summer. In Monday’s first round of stroke play at the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Old Warson Country Club, she shot a 3-under 68 to take the first step toward repeating that feat.
Anderson, 17, of Oxbow, N.D., earned medalist honors at the U.S. Girls’ Junior last month at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. She went on to win the championship, which gave her a full exemption into this week’s field at the 6,422-yard, par-71 Old Warson.
But actually coming to St. Louis for the Women’s Amateur wasn’t a guarantee.
“I didn’t originally try to qualify because it was going to be so busy,” said Anderson, who played in the PGA Junior Championship in Ohio between the Girls’ Junior and the Women’s Amateur and has another event in Minnesota next week. “Since I got the exemption, I wanted to come. My parents just finally gave in.”
Anderson is trying to accomplish a rare double feat – earn medalist honors at the Girls’ Junior and Women’s Amateur in the same year – that has been done just twice in history, by Michiko Hattori in 1986 and Vicki Goetz in 1990. No one has won both championships in the same year.
“I feel like I have a good shot at doing pretty good here,” said Anderson. “I have more expectations than I did before. You definitely want to do it again.”
Finishing one stroke off Anderson’s pace were 17-year-olds Kimberly Kim of Hilo, Hawaii, and Ha Na Jang of Korea.
“Today was fun,” said Kim, who carried her own bag Monday. “I played good on a hard course. My ball striking was very good and my putting was good.”
Kim, who in 2006 became the youngest U.S. Women’s Amateur winner in history with her victory at age 14 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore., has already played in two USGA amateur championship finals this summer – the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links and the U.S. Girls’ Junior. She was the runner-up at both. Despite her credentials, she doesn’t put any extra pressure on herself, particularly during stroke play.
“No pressure at all,” said Kim, a participant in the past four U.S. Women’s Opens. “You don’t want to stress out about stroke play. Just play as well as you can, shoot low and make the cut.”
Jang, a semifinalist at the 2007 U.S. Women’s Amateur, has played a limited schedule in the U.S. in 2009 because she’s been competing for the Korean national team. Despite a shaky driver, she was pleased with her start in her first USGA championship of the year.
“Even though I couldn’t hit the fairway, I was confident I could hit my iron shots well,” said Jang through an interpreter. “My putter was good and my iron shots were really good.”
After a second day of stroke play Tuesday, the U.S. Women’s Amateur field will be reduced to 64 players for match play. The first round of match play is scheduled for Wednesday, the second and third rounds will be played Thursday, the quarterfinal matches are Friday, the semifinal matches are on Saturday, and the 36-hole championship final will be played Sunday.
The U.S. Women’s Amateur is one of 13 championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association each year, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Story written by Beth Murrison of the USGA. For questions or comments, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.